The administration of endogenous factors and assessment of their physiological effect in live animals presents numerous challenges. The ALZET osmotic pump has proven to be a useful research tool, enabling reliable long-term delivery of compounds whilst avoiding stress-related complications induced by frequent handling and dosing schedules. Continuous, controlled administration of hormones, trophic factors, proteins and peptides, permits physiological concentrations to be achieved, despite the poor bioavailabilty or short half-life often associated with such agents.
Due to the widespread biological activity of many endogenous compounds, the ability to deliver an agent directly to a tissue or organ simplifies the identification of specific effects, whilst avoiding adverse reactions associated with systemic delivery. The ALZET pump may also be used to deliver modulators of naturally occurring, biologically-active chemicals, such as nitric oxide. Administration of synthesis inhibitors, precursors, or the agent itself, enables the in vivo levels of the chemical to be controlled and the physiological consequences to be determined.
Lists of references* related to physiology research are listed below.